May 23, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden adviser Gina McCarthy calls it "ridiculous" to push climate sacrifice now

On "Axios on HBO," White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy called for a practical rather than idealistic approach to getting Americans to change their routines to save the planet.

  • McCarthy told me that with all the lost jobs, "Now is not the time to sit them down and say: 'Let's talk about climate. How can you sacrifice?' ... [I]t's never going to be a winning strategy. Right now, it's ridiculous."

Why it matters: Electric vehicles have had a luxury image. But McCarthy took me for a spin in an electric Chevrolet Bolt before the interview, as part of an effort to show electric vehicles can be an economical part of the average American's future.

McCarthy — the head of the EPA under President Obama, and now in a new job created by President Biden — noted that change is hard, because people love their routines.

  • McCarthy said that with all the new technology, "the whole job is to get people excited about what's available, get that deployed to its maximum."
  • "They don't want to have to do research on things like cars," she added. "They just want 'em to be what they used to be. And if you want to make the kind of shift that we need for climate, you've got to be optimistic about the future."

See more of my interview with Gina McCarthy on "Axios on HBO," on HBO and HBO Max.

Go deeper